Oregon

Oregon

Are applicants for a driver's license asked questions about diabetes?

The driver's license application (first-time and renewal) asks an applicant whether he or she has any physical or mental conditions or impairments that affect his or her ability to drive safely, and if so, the applicant is asked to identify the condition or impairment and describe its impact on his or her ability to drive safely. Or. Admin. R. 735-062-0007 (2)(a)-(c) (2013) requiring applications questions about physical conditions affecting driving); Or. DMV, "Driver License … Application," Form 735-173(Rev. 02/2013). If an applicant answers yes to this question, he or she is required to have a medical evaluation form completed. Or. Admin. R. 735-062-0007 (2)(a)-(d) (2013) (applicant answering yes to physical condition questions may not be licensed); Or. Admin. R. 735-076-0007(3)(a)-(d) (2013) (applicant disclosing condition that causes loss of consciousness or control must submit medical report form).

What other ways does the state have to find out about people who may not be able to drive safely because of a medical condition?

The state accepts reports of potentially unsafe drivers from many sources, including a physician or health care provider, a family member, friend or neighbor, a report from a police officer or a court, a DMV representative or a self-report on a licensing application. Or. Admin. R. 735-076-0000 (2013). Driver evaluation request forms are used to report potentially unsafe drivers. Or. DMV "Driver Evaluation Request," Form 735-6066 (Rev. 04/2012). Healthcare providers are required to report individuals with functional or cognitive impairments that are so severe and uncontrollable that they are unable to safely operate a motor vehicle. Or. Rev. Stat. § 807.710(2)(a) (2012) (physicians must report); Or. Admin. R. 735-074-0060 (agency may receive protected health information), 735-074-0070(1), -074-0110(1)-(3) (2013) (listing impairments physician's must report). Anonymous reports are not accepted, Or. Admin. R. 735-076-0005(1)(a) (2013), and the licensing agency will attempt to investigate any questionable reports before contacting a driver. Or. Admin. R. 735-076-0005(1)(c)(A)-(G), (3) (2013) (agency may request more information from person making report). Drivers also may be required to undergo medical evaluations if they have impairments which are observed by licensing agency personnel during the licensing process, Or. Admin. R. 735-076-0000 (2013), or if they are involved in accidents caused by loss of consciousness or control. Or. Admin. R. 735-076-0007(4)(a) (2013). For more information, see Or. Department of Motor Vehicles, "Medically At-Risk Driver Program," (Accessed Aug. 2013).

What is the process for medical evaluations of drivers?

When the licensing agency has reason to believe that a driver may be medically unsafe to operate a motor vehicle, either because the driver gave positive answers to medical questions on the license application or because of a report from one of the other sources listed above, it will require the individual to undergo a medical evaluation. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 807.060(5), .090(2)(a)-(c), .710(2)(a) (2012); Or. Admin. R. 735-074-074-0070(1), -076-0007(3)(a)-(d), (4)(a) (2013). When this happens, an evaluation form is sent to the individual, which then must be completed by a physician, physician's assistant, or nurse practitioner (based on an examination conducted in the last six months). Or. Admin. R. 735-074-0120(1) (2013) (providing for specific form and process that must be used to evaluate drivers with cognitive or functional impairments). The Mandatory Impairment Referral form asks a healthcare provider to the underlying diagnosis and date of last examination; indicate whether the individual's condition is chronic or progressive; and explain how the condition impairs the individual's ability to operate a motor vehicle safely. Or. Admin. R. 735-074-0120(3)(a)-(g) (2013); Or. DMV, "Mandatory Impairment Referral," Form 7230 (Rev. 06/2013). Mandatory Impairment Referral forms must be returned to the licensing agency within 30 days, at which point they are evaluated and a licensing decision is made. Or. Admin. R. 735-074-0140(9) (30 day limit to return evaluation form), -076-0015(2) (2013) (same, but granting 120 extension for seriously ill patients, out-of state drivers, or inability to obtain appointment within 30 days). Periodic follow-up evaluations (generally at six months, one year, or two years) may be required for drivers who suffer losses of consciousness or control. Or. Admin. R. 735-074-0140(9), -0160(4) (2013).

Are physicians required by law to report drivers who have medical conditions that could affect their ability to drive safely?

Yes. Physicians are required to report to the licensing agency drivers (or individuals 14 years of age or older) with cognitive or functional impairments that affect their ability to safely operate motor vehicles. Or. Rev. Stat. § 807.710(2)(a) (2012); Or. Admin. R. 735-074-0070(1), -0110(1)-(3) (2013) (unsafe driving condition reporting); Or. Admin. R. 735-074-0090(3), -0100, -0120(2) (2013) (providing for the mandatory reporting of visual impairments). A Mandatory Impairment Referral (DMV Form 7230) must be used to make a report. Or. Admin. R. 735-074-0120(1) (2013). Such a report must describe the cognitive or functional impairment at issue, any underlying medical diagnosis, and medication being taken and must include an individual's name, address, date of birth, sex, date of the last episode of loss of consciousness or control, and a description of how his or her current medical status affects his or her ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Or. Rev. Stat. § 807.710(2)(b), (4) (2012); Or. Admin. R. 735-074-0120(3)(a)-(g) (2013). Such reports also are kept confidential and may be used only to make licensing determinations. Or. Rev. Stat. § 807.710(5) (2012); Or. Admin. R. 735-074-0070(2) (2013). If a physician provides specialized or emergency medical services related to a cognitive or functional impairment, the doctor need not report the individual to the licensing agency if he or she notifies the individual's primary care physician. Or. Admin. R. 735-074-0090(2) (2013).

Are physicians who report drivers with medical conditions immune from legal action by the patient?

Yes. If a physician, in good faith, either reports or fails to report a driver with a cognitive or functional impairment that affects his or her ability to safely operate motor vehicles, the physician is immune from any civil liability that might result from his or her action. Or. Rev. Stat. § 807.710(2)(a) (2012).

Who makes decisions about whether drivers are medically qualified?

Generally, licensing decisions about drivers with medical conditions are referred to Medical Determination Officers, physicians employed by the state government who serve as health consultants to the licensing agency. Or. Rev. Stat. § 807.090(2), (4) (2012); Or. Admin. R. 735-074-0140(2), -076-0018(1)-(4) (2013). Oregon does not have an independent Medical Advisory Board.

What are the circumstances under which a driver may be required to undergo a medical evaluation?

An individual may be required to undergo a medical evaluation if he or she gives affirmative answers to medical questions on a licensing application. Or. Admin. R. 735-076-0007(3)(a)-(d) (2013). An individual may be required to undergo a medical evaluation if he or she is reported to the licensing agency as a potentially unsafe driver, Or. Admin. R. 735-076-0007(3)(d), (4)(a)-(b) (2013), or been involved in an accident caused by loss of consciousness or control. Or. Admin. R. 735-076-0007(4)(a) (2013). Also, more generally, an individual may be required to undergo a medical evaluation if he or she suffers from any functional or cognitive impairment that may affect his or her ability to drive safely. Or. Rev. Stat. § 807.710(2)(a) (2012; Or. Admin. R. 735-074-0110(1)-(3) (2013). Individuals with functional or cognitive impairments may be required to undergo regular follow-up medical examinations as a condition of licensure. Or. Admin. R. 735-074-0140(9), -0160(4) (2013).

Has the state adopted specific policies about whether people with diabetes are allowed to drive?

No. Oregon has adopted no particular standards for any medical conditions with regard to the licensing of noncommercial drivers, except for its vision standards.

What is the state's policy about episodes of altered consciousness or loss of consciousness that may be due to diabetes?

A physician treating an individual 14 years of age or older that has suffered an episode of loss of consciousness must immediately report the individual to the licensing agency. Or. Rev. Stat. § 807.710(2)(a) (2012); Or. Admin. R. 735-074,-0110(2)(b)) (2013). The licensing agency then determines the extent to which any severe functional or cognitive impairment not correctable or controllable by medication, therapy, surgery, or adaptive devices adversely affects an individual's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle according to specified regulations. Or. Admin. R. 735-074-0130(1)-(3) (2013) (providing detailed standards by which sensory, motor, and cognitive impairments are to be judged). If an individual subject to episodes of loss of consciousness is reported to the licensing agency as a potentially unsafe driver, he or she may be required to submit a medical report or to acquiesce to a driving eligibility determination by a Medical Determination Officer. Or. Admin. R. 735-076-0007(3)(d), (4)(a)-(b) (2013).

Does the state allow for waivers of this policy, e.g., a waiver for a one-time episode of severe hypoglycemia that has mitigating factors (e.g., recent change in medication, illness, etc.) or that has been addressed with a physician?

Yes. An individual subject a condition that affects ability to safely operate a vehicle may nonetheless personally demonstrate to the satisfaction of the licensing agency that the person is qualified safely operate a vehicle. Or. Rev. Stat. § 807.090(1) (2012). The medical information submitted by the applicant then is reviewed by a Medical Determination Officer, who must concur in the recommendation to grant the license. Or. Rev. Stat. § 807.090(1)(b) (2012). To determine licensing of an applicant with a condition affecting safe driving, the licensing agency will review reports from a person's health providers or additional reports from other health professionals. Or. Rev. Stat. § 807.090(2)(a)-(c) (2012). If a Medical Determination Officer approves an individual for driving, he or she may be required to submit to periodic follow-up evaluation at a frequency determined by the Medical Determination Officer after reviewing recommendations from the individual's physician. Or. Rev. Stat. § 807.090(3) (2012).

What is the process for appealing a decision of the state regarding a driver's license?

If an individual's license has been suspended or revoked for medical reasons, he or she may request a hearing to contest the suspension or revocation by submitting to the licensing agency a written request that is either postmarked or received within 20 days of the date of notification of the licensing decision. Or. Admin. R. 735-070-0110(2)(c) (2013) (hearing request procedures); Or. Admin. R. 735-070-0020(2) (2013) (providing that the 20-day request period must be observed). If an individual does not request a hearing within the specified time period, his or her right to hearing is waived. Or. Admin. R. 735-070-0110(4) (2013). When the licensing agency receives a timely request for a hearing to contest a license suspension or revocation, the licensing decision will be stayed pending the outcome of the hearing, except when the licensing agency determines that there is a serious danger to the public health, safety, or welfare or when the revocation already has gone into effect—among other reasons. Or. Admin. R. 735-070-0020(3)(a), (d) (2013). No new medical information may be introduced during a hearing. The hearing decision may be appealed to the Court of Appeals if an appeal is filed within 60 days of the decision.

May an individual whose license is suspended or denied because of diabetes receive a probationary or restricted license?

No. To be eligible for driving privileges, an individual must fulfill all of the applicable reinstatement requirements. However, the licensing agency may impose restrictions on an individual's license "appropriate to insure the safe operation of a motor vehicle by the person." Or. Rev. Stat. § 807.120(2)(c) (2012); Or. Admin. R. 735-074-0210(1), -076-0050(1) (2013) (providing that the licensing agency may impose restrictions on an individual's license necessary to insure the safe operation of a motor vehicle). For more information, see Or. Department of Motor Vehicles, "Medically At-Risk Driver Program," (Accessed Aug. 2013).

Is an identification card available for non-drivers?

Yes, with proper identification, proof of residency, and payment of fee. Or. Rev. Stat. § 807.400(1) (2012) (identification requirements). The fee required to obtain an identification card is $44.50. Or. Rev. Stat. § 807.410(1) (2012). An identification card is valid for an eight-year period. Or. Rev. Stat. §§ 807.130(1) (2012). An individual cannot hold both an identification card and a driver's license concurrently. Or. Rev. Stat. § 807.400(1)(c) (2012). For more information, see Or. Department of Motor Vehicles, "Driver and ID Information," (Accessed Aug. 2013).

Resources

Driver licensing in Oregon is administered by the Driver and Motor Vehicle Services Division of the state Department of Motor Vehicles.